Will You Upgrade This Holiday Season?


Oh, the holidays. A time for turkey, jingle bells, and retail madness. In the past few years, the holiday season has also been one of technology upgrades. Many tech companies conveniently choose the early fall to debut new and upgraded products, just in time for the holiday season. I think it’s safe to say that there are new cell phones or tablets under many, many Christmas trees each year.

So will you upgrade this holiday season? Here are some of the new offerings to consider:

iPhone 5S or 5C – Apple is undeniably a giant when it comes to phones and tablets. Their newest phone offerings come in two versions – the iPhone 5S and 5C. The 5S is what you would expect from a typical Apple upgrade, with fancy new colors and fingerprint technology. The iPhone 5C is basically last year’s iPhone 5, repackaged in a colorful plastic housing. Rumor has it that so far, the iPhone 5C is not selling as well as anticipated.

iPad Air – The iPad Air is the most recent Apple offering. While it seems as though a lot of the specs of the iPad have only gotten minor tweaks, the look of it is very different. Weighing in at a sleek one pound, the iPad Air is even more portable than its predecessors. The newest iPad also boasts a bigger screen.

iPad Mini with Retina – The iPad mini has gotten an upgrade, too. While the look of the device is basically the same, it now has the same technology as its larger sibling, adding Retina display.

Galaxy S4 – Samsung’s direct competitor for the iPhone is their Galaxy line. The newest model, the Galaxy S4, has a few changes from its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. It has a larger screen (5” instead of 4.8”) although the size of the phone itself has only become slimmer, not bigger. Along with these changes, it also features an upgraded display and new apps that are formatted specifically for the S4.

Galaxy Note 3 – Samsung’s Galaxy Note series is something of an anomaly in the cell phone world. It’s huge, almost tablet-like display definitely isn’t for everyone. But for those who don’t mind its large size, the new Note 3 has some cool features. The Note 3 is available in 3 colors, which is new. Users say that the Note 3 has one of the best displays on the market.

Google Nexus – Google’s Nexus line is still a bit of a mystery. They have not yet unveiled their new products, likely to be the Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 8 tablet. Hopefully we will hear more about these products soon, as they are likely to be major players in the holiday tech-buying frenzy.

So which of these new gadgets will you be buying or gifting this holiday season?

(Photo Source)

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Google and Waze: Acquisition of Really Cool App


Ever heard of Waze? I hadn’t, until recently. My husband insisted that Apple Maps was awful and would lead me astray. I brushed him off and kept using it – until I was nearly an hour late picking up a friend from a small airport because Apple Maps told me that it was located in the middle of a lake. Um. No, it’s not. So while my husband briefed me about the history of the Waze app, I downloaded it. I’ve been smitten ever since. The small company also has a colorful recent history.

Waze is a really interesting hybrid of a map service and a social network. You plug in your destination and Waze will tell you how to get there. But the difference is that it uses data collected from other users to give you the quickest possible route. Other Wazers check in, offering information on slowed traffic, accidents, police, cars stopped on the side of the road, and more. The app also senses if you are going slower than the posted speed limit in that area and asks you if the traffic is heavy.

Users can also comment on events. For example, if an accident is noted on the map, there is a thread of conversation attached that users can contribute to. My family and I once discovered that we were going 5mph down the interstate because an RV had crashed into some trees in the median, even though the accident had been cleared by the time we got there.

Originally developed in Israel, recently Waze has skyrocketed in popularity. In 2013, both Facebook and Google attempted to acquire the company. Waze and Facebook could not reach an agreement, and in June 2013, Google was able to acquire the company for more than a billion dollars. However, Google is now being investigated for possibly violating competition law, as there are very few competitors for Google Maps and they just purchased one of the largest ones.

Waze is a free app that is supported by most smartphone platforms. It appears to support itself by the use of sponsored ads. While it is a very useful app here in the U.S. where its mapping system is considered complete, it is not yet complete around the world. Waze also relies on a strong community to keep the maps updated and other users current on what is going on. If you are in a remote area, while the map should be accurate, the social aspect may be lacking.

I don’t work for Waze or get paid to promote it, I just think it’s a really cool app that more people should know about!

(Photo Source)

Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.

New Gadgets and Software from Apple


The highly anticipated reveal of the newest line of Apple products happened on September 10th. Apple released 2 new versions of the iPhone as well as a new software upgrade, iOS 7. With the release of the new iPhones last Friday, Apple was expected to sell between five and eight million iPhones over the weekend alone.

Whether you already have your new iPhone or are waiting to get yours, here are a few features of the new hardware and software that Apple has to offer:

iPhone 5S

– the iPhone 5S has some very cool sounding features. In addition to being offered in a new gold hue that is unique to this version, it also has a few other added features. New fingerprint technology will allow you to lock your phone where only you can access it – even more secure than a passcode.

iPhone 5C

– the iPhone 5C is Apple’s lower-end phone offering. Totally new to the iPhone lineup, the 5C has a colorful plastic housing. It is essentially the same as the previous year’s iPhone 5. The phone will still be able to do everything that the iPhone 5 does and it will be offered at the $99 price point, which will attract even more people to the Apple brand.

iOS 7

– the new operating system for Apple devices boasts a lot of new features. Some of those include upping the app store download limit (over wifi) to 100mb instead of 50. The user interface looks different and some of the featured Apple icons have gotten a design makeover. Many of the big names in apps have already made themselves over in anticipation of the release of the new OS. It’s estimated that as of today that as many as 28% of Apple users have already adopted the new operating system.

So, will you be running out to get a new Apple phone? Or downloading the new iOS 7 to your current device?

(Photo Source)

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.